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South Korean National Identity and its Strategic Preferences
Author: Andrew Kim
Region: Asia
Published April 2, 2012
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Natural disasters are known to draw nations closer together. The 2004 tsunami relief efforts of various states, especially the United States, were widely credited with improving relations with Indonesia. An outpouring of sympathy and, especially, a major assistance program, elicited public gratitude at a time of great need. Yet, heightened sensitivity in the aftermath of a tragic disaster holds the potential for negative sentiments as well. Readiness to believe that other nations regard the disaster as fitting punishment can translate into exaggerated reactions, especially in this age of Internet postings and blogs. In 2008, China suffered a major earthquake. In 2011, Japan experienced an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear reactor leakages. South Korea is located between these two states, and the way its response to these devastating events were interpreted by its neighbors opens a window into its dynamic national identity and how such developments shape its strategic outlook.

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